This gospel (Mark 6:7ff) easily resonates in the heart of people who have felt God’s call and chosen to follow the attraction of his voice.  This month I celebrate 16 years of responding to God’s call to the priesthood, certainly not without trials and difficulties.  My journey is more a surprise of God’s faithfulness rather than my own. Let us break open the message of the Lord…
Jesus called his disciples and sent them out.  What is noteworthy in this mission are the words that accompanied it:  take no food, no sack, no money in your belts.  The mission is daunting and complex and no least simple.  To bring the Good News there is no assurance of encountering listening and open hearts.  But the Lord seems to make it more difficult by depriving his disciples of comfort.
Without food, the disciples will go hungry.  Without a sack, they are clearly told not to cling to belongings.  Without money, surely, they will find it hard to move around. Is the Lord unaware of the demands and dangers of the mission?
I believe that the Lord wants to draw the hearts of his disciples to one thing – Providence.  This word means that God will provide, and indeed he does, everything the disciple will need to accomplish his task.  Jesus himself lived in dependence on the Providence of the Father.  Remember, foxes and birds were better off, Jesus said, because the Son of Man had nowhere to rest for the night (Mt. 8:20).  The Lord Jesus lived on the generosity of his friends, used by God to support him.  And he was never lacking in anything.  Providence, knowledge that God will not abandon him, was his only sense of security.
Today for many people, this sense of security comes from something else, not Providence but from provisions.  We want to surround ourselves with material and financial security.  We cannot seem to live without things that guarantee our health, money and housing.  We buy and acquire.  We haul things into our storerooms and guard them zealously so that these in turn will guarantee our happiness and invulnerability.
There is nothing wrong in being secure.  There is nothing wrong in practicality.  It demands mere common sense to know that there are things we cannot do without in our contemporary modern lives.  But there is one danger in all these.  For many people, their hope is grounded on the security of material resources only, forgetting that even these are mere instruments in the hands of God.  Or at times, these material security becomes the foremost source of strength and assurance, God’s love relegated to secondary status.
After 16 years of priesthood, I am constantly amazed at how God provides when all else seem futile.  So many times I thought I would hit the ground, then suddenly God shows me he is in charge and he knows what I need even before I tell him. There were times I thought that sickness, hostility and dangers would defeat me, then the Lord appears to me with his offer of victory and deliverance.
Let us believe again in Providence, more than in provisions.